Millie’s Marvelous Hat, by Satoshi Kitamura


Millie’s Marvelous Hat, by Satoshi Kitamura is a wonderfully warm, tongue-in-cheek book which follows a young girl on her walk home. It begins when she stops by a hatter’s shop and tries to buy a glorious hat displayed in the window. On discovering she is penniless, the shop-keeper fetches her a ‘magic’ hat from the back room. This hat changes appearance, depending on what Millie sees and feels.


At face value, the book is a lovely romp through a child’s imagination, but it also offers a myriad of opportunities to discuss emotions and how the way we act can improve another’s day.

The passage which particularly helped to illustrate this was when Millie smiled at an old lady, causing some of the creatures from her hat fly over to the woman’s. The happiness felt by Millie was suddenly gifted to a passer-by through the simple act of smiling – something that all of us would do well to remember.


The beautiful, colourful illustrations feel like a breath of fresh air and the details in the various hats which Millie imagines kept myself and the children looking for hours. Even a child too young for the story itself would find value in looking at the pictures.


Whilst I do love the story, I feel that it’s the artwork in this book which makes it truly magical. I can’t imagine this working nearly so well without the glorious pictures.

This is the sort of book that I’d seek out in hardback to gift to people – a real keep-sake – and I wish that I could find prints of the illustrations to hang in my own bedroom, never mind the children’s! The palette of colours is so fresh and crisp that I can’t imagine ever getting tired of looking at them.

This story never fails to make me smile and inspire me – which books make you feel the same way?

Farn ❤

Story Sacks

I had originally intended to wait before posting about story sacks – at least until there were some reviews on the site! – but given that I’ve now finished the bags I was asked to create for use in our local community, I just couldn’t wait to share what I’ve been up to.

After looking through the existing collection to see what was lacking, I decided to focus my efforts on strong female characters, the inclusion of people of colour, STEM* subjects and encouraging a growth mindset. Our local Early Years Forum granted me a small sum of money with which to do this, but I have to confess that I cheated slightly by adding in some of our own books which no longer saw use, in addition to second-hand toys. As a result, I managed to make six bags with the budget I was given for two. Hooray for more stories!

The titles I selected, in no particular order, were:

Ruby Nettleship and the Great Ice Lolly Adventure, by Helen and Thomas Docherty

ruby nettleship

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Iggy Peck

Dream Dancer, by Jill Newsome and Claudio Munoz

Dream Dancer

Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

ada twist

Lily Brown’s Paintings, by Angela Johnson and E B Lewis

Lily brown

Meet The Parents, by Peter Bently and Sara Ogilvie

meet the parents

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try and upload more information about each story sack – the list of contents and the ideas for activities which I included in each. As some of the items I’ve included are no longer in production, or have limited availability (i.e. the log-cabin building set with ‘Iggy Peck, Architect’ was bought during a special event at a German supermarket) I will try to list possible alternatives.

I’m really looking forward to covering these, and sharing the stories with you – I think Ruby Nettleship is my favourite children’s book of all time! Which is yours?

Farn ❤


*Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths


It’s a tricky thing, knowing where to begin. I have So Many Books that I’d like to share with you, but I’m really not sure which to speak about first!

So… I thought I’d give you a brief introduction to what I plan to do here instead.

Daughter is an avid reader – choosing books over toys time and time again… to the point where I donated my entire library in order to make space for hers*. Along the way, we’ve discovered some absolutely magical stories – tales which teach and entertain and comfort. There are books with beautiful illustrations, Books With No Pictures, and every so often, a wonderful book with no words at all.

I found myself recommending these stories to friends, other parents, playgroup leaders and eventually, our local early years forum. I seem to spend so long recommending books that it makes sense to gather mine and Daughter’s thoughts about what we’ve read in one place, so that in future, I can redirect anyone who asks.

For the longest time, I didn’t know what I was going to call this site. Nothing I came up with seemed to fit well, but eventually, I settled on ‘The Inquisitive Newt’ after reading a story from ‘Gordon, The Big Engine,’ to Son. Gordon gets stuck in a ditch and blows away ‘three tadpoles and an inquisitive newt’. Son proceeded to ask what a ‘quiltive newn’ was and, tongue in cheek, I told him he was. Slowly, my children became my inquisitive newts, and so did the site – a place full of books to inspire curious little minds.

I hope you find something you like!

Farn ❤


*I did replace all of my books on e-reader, though!

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